The All American Heel Turn: The Rougeau Brothers Become Fabulous

Brian Damage

Jacques and Raymond Rougeau were real life brothers who formed a tag team in the 1970’s. The Rougeau brothers were an extremely popular duo up in Canada and especially in their hometown of Montreal, Quebec. They headlined sold out shows at Montreal’s famed Forum. When Vince McMahon Jr was expanding the World Wrestling Federation…McMahon plucked several popular wrestlers from various competing territories and the Rougeaus were no exception.

The Rougeau Brothers joined the WWF in February of 1986 and debuted for the company overseas. The team faced off against various heel teams including the Moondogs, The Funk Brothers and The Dream Team. They were pushed hard as clean cut babyfaces. While the brothers maintained their popularity up north in Canada…the tag team had a lot of trouble being accepted in the United States.

At first, the Rougeaus were getting lukewarm responses by WWF fans at best. Within a year, the brothers were hearing more boos than cheers with fans holding signs saying “Frogs Go Home” which was insulting their French Canadian heritage. The brothers were extremely frustrated during this time because they desperately wanted to become stars in the U.S. market. At one point, Ray and Jacques jokingly talked about what it would be like if they had turned heel.

It was an idea said in jest and wasn’t given any kind of serious consideration by them, because for the most part…their entire careers were as babyfaces. According to Ray Rougeau, two weeks after joking about the heel turn idea, the tag team was summoned to WWF headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut for a meeting with Vince McMahon. With the team struggling to get over…some thoughts floated in their minds that the meeting was to fire them from the promotion.

When the brothers sat down with McMahon, Vince immediately eased their minds by proposing that their characters become heels. All Raymond and Jacques could do was laugh and be relieved…as they told Vince of their idea two weeks prior. According to the Rougeaus, they sat with Vince for hours discussing how this heel turn would develop. It wouldn’t just happen randomly one week…but slowly burn and tease for 3 to 4 months. The Rougeaus would incorporate a very pro American philosophy and do little things to irritate fans more and more.

The brothers had their reservations about the plan because they felt embracing America would get the fans to cheer them. Vince assured the team that it would do the exact opposite because of where they are from. The plan would work and day by day, week after week…the Rougeaus became more hated. It was McMahon who came up with the idea for the team to carry tiny American flags and wave them obnoxiously as they made their way to the ring. Vince also decided to alter their name to the Fabulous Rougeaus.

The Rougeaus would face the Killer Bees in a face versus face exhibition match. The brothers would cheat their way to a victory. They would then arrogantly extend their hands to make peace with the Bees, but the more popular Killer Bees refused in disgust. ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart would eventually be paired with the team as their new manager. This was a direct sign that the Fabulous Rougeaus were now officially heels.

Raymond Rougeau talked glowingly about his former manager as a man who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help make the Rougeaus a better heel tag team. It was Hart who wrote the team’s infamous theme song ‘All American Boys.’ The lyrics went as follows:

From Montreal to Memphis
Parlez vous Francais?
Tell all the girls
The Rougeaus are on their way
Don’t call us pretty boys
We’re not a musclehead
We hate that long-haired look
We like the preppie look instead
We’re all-American boys
All-American boys
We’re all-American boys
All-American boys
We don’t like heavy metal
We don’t like rock ‘n’ roll
All we like to listen to
Is Barry Manilow
On peut pas les sentir
Dans le monde ils sont les pires
On aime les faire fâcher quand on dit
We love the USA
We’re all-American boys
All-American boys
We’re all-American boys

While the song was very pro United States and how they loved America….the French part of the lyrics were anti American…which was genius. Translated it says “We can’t feel them
In the world they are the worst…We like to make them angry when we say We Love the USA.” The song was recorded at the famed Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The same studio where legendary singers like Elvis and Johnny Cash recorded hit songs.

Jimmy Hart also had the idea to no longer have the Rougeaus billed from Montreal in their ring introduction. Instead, they were announced as being from Montreal, Quebec, but soon to relocate to the United States in particular Memphis, Tennessee. The Fabulous Rougeaus were more over as heels than they could have ever imagined as babyfaces in the four years they were with the WWF.

6 thoughts on “The All American Heel Turn: The Rougeau Brothers Become Fabulous

  1. J’adore les freres Rougeaus! I always loved the Rougeaus, they were so much fun both in face and heel modes. I admit I was the weird kid who always gravitated to the heels. They were always so much more fun and colorful. Give me a Honky Tonk Man or King Kong Bundy over a Tito Santana or Hulk Hogan any day of the week. Can we also get a little love for The Mountie. The character was so over the top and goofy that I loved it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The heel Rougeau’s were great. I was in my early teens at the time but cheered them as heels more than as faces.
    I was at a house show in a small central MN town when they had their angle vs the rockers. I never could get behind the rockers because I thought they were ripping off the RnR express. At the house show i made a sign “Rougeau’s Rule, All American Men.” Complete with little US flags on it. I had managed to get 3rd row seats. Intros and i am holding high my sign and held it extra high so Shawn or Marty would especially see it. I forget which of the 2 came to my side of the ring on their entrance.
    Match starts and it’s Raymond vs Shawn to start and Raymond starts and does the circle around the ring before locking up. (I should say that when Rougeau’s did entrance i know they saw sign and Jacques did a little smirk, but being heels they didn’t acknowledge it).
    So Raymond circles and as he slowly walks in to lock up he backs away a couple steps, points at me and my sign and starts trash talking to Shawn. Who knows what he actually was saying but memorable.
    Unfortunately for me, the rockers won the match.

    Kudos to the team entrance song, i had forgotten about that.


  3. OMG, the way they condescendingly would come out at first and tell everyone to not compare them to that Dino Bravo, as unlike Dino, they Loved the USA! And the way they waved their little flags. Just brilliant.


  4. This was masterfully done, and at 8 years old I didn’t quite get it right away. Watching the turn in hindsight, it was great. Seeing them wish us a happy Memorial Day weekend when it was Independence Day weekend, talking about landmarks like “the Lincoln Monument and Washington Memorial” 🤣 and then the little flags… also Ventura gradually beginning to defend them on commentary as McMahon would start to question how genuine they were… little stuff like that was awesome. They went from the most unlikable babyface team to the most unlikable heel team in a matter of months.


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